Meeting to discuss marine sewage outfalls

Hout Bay North Shore Pump Station.

The City is holding a series of meetings to hear from the public on the issue of minimally treated sewage disposal into the ocean through its three marine outfalls situated 1.5km offshore in Hout Bay, Green Point and Camps Bay.

The Hout Bay Llandudno meeting will take place at the Recreation Centre in OR Tambo and NR Mandela roads, Imizamo Yethu, on Thursday October 5, at 5pm.

This marks the second attempt at public engagement following the 2015 process, which was deemed insufficient and outdated by Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister (DFFE) Barbara Creecy, who in June reversed her decision to grant the permits, saying the City’s public participation process was “inadequate, outdated and should be redone”.

Earlier this year, numerous organisations appealed to the DFFE after the City was issued with permits to continue releasing sewage from its outlets into the ocean.

They claimed the City had failed to adequately notify the public about the permits granted in 2019 and 2022.

Those permits allowed for a maximum of 56 million litres (more than 25 Olympic-sized swimming pools) of sewage discharge daily, according to reports commissioned by the City.

The only treatment this sewage receives is to be macerated and pumped through a 3mm grid to remove grit and solids.

The City also sought a permit for brine discharge at the Green Point outfall in connection with a potential desalination plant.

On Wednesday September 20, mayoral committee member for water and sanitation Zahid Badroodien announced the start of a 60-day public hearing period at a pre-briefing held at Camps Bay High School.

This comes after the DFFE accused the City of failing to notify the public it had been granted the permits in 2019 for Hout Bay, in December 2022 for Green Point, and in January of this year for Camps Bay.

According to the DFFE, the delay in issuing the permits was attributed to shifting legislation from the National Water Act to the Integrated Coastal Management Act.

In the interim, the outfalls operated under a general authorisation from the Department of Water and Sanitation.

Ms Creecy said her appeal decision highlighted the City’s failure to notify interested parties of permit issuance, hindering the right to appeal.

She emphasised that the public should have been informed promptly.

Dr Badroodien said the City was extending the public hearings to include five coastal sewage treatment plants, namely Llandudno, Mitchell’s Plain, Oudekraal, Simon’s Town and Miller’s Point.

Grounds for appeal against the permits include environmental concerns, contravention of the right to a healthy environment, inadequate public participation and disinterest in the community’s well-being.

Submit your comments until Tuesday November 21, by hand at your nearest sub-council office, on the City’s website, call 021 400 6686, or email